Tenant Parking Issues – Parking Where They Are Not Allowed
This is a fairly common problem that landlords have to deal with. But, it can be difficult to stop your tenants from parking where they shouldn’t.
I don’t know about the area where you live, but most areas do not allow parking in the grass. To make matters worse, some areas do not allow parking on the street for very long or at all. Don’t ever assume that just because you see cars parked on the street where your rental is located that it is allowed.
Tenant parking issues are something that I deal with from the start of the lease term. All of my tenants are told when they sign the lease to only park in designated areas, which does not include the yard. I usually find out that a tenant is parking somewhere other than the driveway when I get an official notice from Metro Housing. It is usually a warning at first and a fine will follow.
Tenant Behaving Badly
I had a tenant who would not stop parking in the grass and the fines totaled $600. I went by the property and spoke to them in person and that didn’t work so I sent a cease and desist. That didn’t work either. The tenant ended up having to move because he and his family would not stop parking in the grass.
Parking in the front yard caused a lot of damage. There were deep tire ruts all over the yard and the grass was mostly dead.
A truck load of dirt had to be brought in and along with a bob cat to spread the dirt out and level the yard again. Then, grass seed and straw were put down and the yard had to be watered. It was expensive and a huge hassle. A collections case has been filed against the tenant but who knows if the money will ever be collected.
How To Protect Yourself
Be sure and address tenant parking issue sin the lease.
- Clearly state where the tenant is allowed to park.
- Clearly state that any and all fines issued will be billed to the tenant.
- I would further state that rent will not be accepted until the fines are paid.
- State that the tenant will be responsible for paying to repair the yard if necessary.
When this issue crops up, immediately send out a 14 Day Cease and Desist letter or whatever notice is appropriate in your area. Consult your attorney to find out what you have to do.
It is very irritating to send out the notice only to either talk to your attorney or get to court and find out that you did not do this correctly. It takes to send out the proper notice and will end up costing more money.
Know The Rules In Your Area
Know the rules about parking for each of your rental properties.
- Is parking allowed on the street?
- Does your property have a short driveway?
- No garage?
- Is the garage likely to be just used for storage?
Do not assume that even when you cover the rules with the tenants that they will listen. Many of them will just ignore you. Many tenants can’t figure out why this is such a big deal! They are completely blown away that this is such a big issue. Do not assume that just because there is a garage your tenant will use it to park vehicles.
Start With The Application
Tenant parking issues usually do not crop up over night. When you starting having issues with a tenant, you may find that when you go back and look at the application, you could have identified this problem before this tenant ever moved in.
When you are reviewing an application, one thing you should always do is have the applicant list how many occupants and how many vehicles will be kept on the property.
If your applicant has 4 or 5 cars, and the rental property has a short driveway and/or no garage parking and street parking is not allowed, I can guarantee that parking is going to be an issue.
Here, you are only allowed to have 3 cars on the property. Police and Metro Housing are loose about enforcing this rule unless it becomes an issue. Once this has popped up on their radar, it is not going to go away.
You may have to disqualify the applicants if there are too many vehicles. This may sound extreme but I have had that happen once.
Common Tenant Issues
This problem will come up from time to time and is not at all uncommon. When this problem does occur, deal with your tenant quickly and firmly.
- Have policies in place and enforce them.
- Be sure that your applicant / tenant knows what the rules are and that they will be enforced.
- Be prepared to evict the tenant if the issue is not resolved.
Your tenants need to understand that you will enforce the rules and that you will bill them both for the fines and any resulting damage. This is a big deal and you need to make sure your tenant understand this. Once your property has been called out for this violation, or any violation, it will be on the radar of the local housing department and they will continue to check on it.
Be sure and join the Commonsense Landlording Facebook Group for more tips. Join Here